Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
3:00 AM 2nd May 2022

Raising The Bar! Heineken Invests In Y&H Pubs To Meet Pubgoers Changing Habits

HEINEKEN UK is raising the bar for the great British pub, pumping £42m into upgrading locals around the country in its Star Pubs & Bars' estate in 20221. Pubs in Yorkshire & the Humber are set to benefit with a £2.3m earmarked for 10 projects, five of which (£1.5m of the investment) are subject to recruiting new operators.

Investments include:
Buccaneer Brough, Hull
Grandale Hull
Green Tree Messingham, North Lincs
Mist Scarborough (Yorks)
Blacksmith Arms Rothwell (Yorkshire)

Those subject to recruitment include:
Woodlands Harrogate
Gibsons York
Wharfdale Arthington
White Stone Cliff Nr Thirsk
Duke of York Gate Helmsley

The Wharfedale
The Wharfedale
A £387,000 investment in The Wharfedale, a former coaching inn, would see the interior and exterior sympathetically upgraded and the pub repositioned as an upmarket dining destination with 150 covers, letting rooms, a large beer garden and carpark. There is also scope for further development of the coach house later.

Gibsons is one of the first bars at the top of Micklegate, a prime high street position on the York circuit. The planned £280,000 refurbishment would see the pub modernised and given a stylish makeover with exposed brickwork, comfortable seating and a brighter improved back bar. Outside, a hidden courtyard space, a rarity on the York high-street, will be enhanced to ensure maximum use by tourists, locals, and students.

The revamps in Yorkshire and the Humber will reflect two long-term trends that have been accelerated and amplified by the pandemic – pubgoers’ increasing demand for quality and for outdoor socialising. New research reveals that, since the pandemic, over 50% of pubgoers are treating themselves to better quality food and drink than they did pre-Covid, whilst a nice outdoor seating area has become more important to eight out of ten.

Pubs earmarked for major makeovers will be given a quality look and feel to deliver the premium experience customers want. Kitchen refits and new bars will enable them to keep up with pubgoers’ higher expectations for food and drink. People have developed a taste for eating and drinking alfresco as a result of the pandemic and are seeking out pubs with great gardens year-round. Many of the projects will therefore include external improvements. The investment will extend outdoor seating areas – making pubs more sustainable – and add the wow factor with features such as festoon lighting, artwork, heaters and covers.

Lawson Mountstevens, Managing Director, Star Pubs & Bars, said:
“People have stayed closer to home over the last two years due to the pandemic and turned to their local for the kind of experience they’d previously have travelled to a city centre, restaurant or bar to find. They don't want to turn back time: they expect better quality including food and specialty drinks – such as cocktails – that are harder to recreate at home. It’s the same with gardens. Sitting outside at the pub has become a new occasion and, if the outside space is good enough, customers will wrap up to enjoy it even in the winter months. Outdoor facilities also remain important for those who are still cautious about going out as the UK learns to live with Covid.

“The cost-of-living squeeze on wallets is magnifying these trends. People are looking for a really great experience when they go out. These are challenging times. However, we are confident that well invested pubs that adapt to market changes will have a bright, long-term future.”